Minneapolis City Assessor says smile, it's picture time for your property

In a move that sounds like it's right out of the Google playbook, Minneapolis City Assessor Patrick Todd says his office has started a program photograph every single piece of private property in its jurisdiction -- about 130,000 parcels.

Not that you were warned, or anything. In fact, four white Ford vans have been moving around the city on the photo assignment since April, when the City Council approved a $195,000 bid by Yotta MVS, Inc., of Kansas city, to handle the project.

Finance and Commerce reports that while the assessor's office is managing the program to create a visual database for property assessments, the images will also be made available to police, firefighters, economic development, planning, public works and emergency preparedness offices. However, you. Mr. or Mrs. Homeowner, will not have access to the images.

The company doing the work is owned by a UK-based company that has worked on similar projects around the world. Todd told Finance and Commerce it opted to go with a contractor, rather thanGoogle Maps, for example, because the city wanted to maintain control of the images, rather than rely on work in a public web space.

Google, in case you missed the headlines, recently ran afoul of European privacy officials when it was discovered that the company was collecting and storing -- inadvertently, it said -- WiFi data as its Street View photo cars went about their work.

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